My Kind of Gamble

by Kieran Healy on October 24, 2005

I’ll leave it to John Q to “comment”: on the upcoming Bernanke era at the Fed. But the “New York Times article”: about his appointment is funny:

*White House Gamble Pays for a Princeton Professor*

Even before President Bush named Ben S. Bernanke as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers this spring, Mr. Bernanke decided to gamble. He sold his home in New Jersey last year and told friends that, instead of returning to a tenured professorship at Princeton University, he was taking a chance that President Bush would elevate him from obscurity as a Federal Reserve governor to a top political appointment.

The gamble paid off.

It’s Nerves of Steel Bernanke! He takes the chance of selling his lovely home in a prime Princeton location — at the peak of a huge real estate bubble! He bets that he will be appointed to the Fed, bravely facing the bleak and frightening possibility that — should Bush choose someone else — he would be snapped up by the top-ranked economics department of his choice. He knows no fear!

Don’t get me wrong: I think Bernanke is a good guy, and he was the obvious choice for the job. I just like the way the Times is spinning it. If anything, the fact that he can make a decision with no real downside look like a bet-the-farm gamble suggests he has what it takes to chair the Fed.



bad Jim 10.25.05 at 4:30 am

When else should one sell except at the peak?

Bernanke may be fine in every other respect, but this particular is hardly exceptional.


Barry 10.25.05 at 6:53 am

Isn’t this the typical NYT article, alternating with ‘oh look at a trend amongst the upper-middle class’ articles?


Steve LaBonne 10.25.05 at 7:19 am

Yes, which is why many of us poor folks have long since stopped bothering to look at that rag.


eweininger 10.25.05 at 9:04 am

It’s a simple formula: talk a little bit about the research, then go to the “human interest” stuff. Which latter requirement can be…challenging, should your subject be an academic economist.

Of course, if you’re a journalist you have to thank your lucky stars that there are no ministerial-type positions reserved for sociologists.


The Phantom 10.25.05 at 5:46 pm

The one time in his life Bernnake had a career setback, he fell on his feet. In 1985 Stanford denied him tenure, and right away Princeton, displaying much better judgement, offered him a full professorship.

Just goes to show how wrong some tenure committees can be.

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